Potatoes are delicious, nutritious, and versatile. But if you have a potato allergy, potato intolerance, or are sensitive to potatoes, you might need to make some dietary changes besides just avoiding potatoes.
Potato Food Family
Potato is a member of the Solanaceae Food Family.
The Solanaceae Food Family is also known as the Nightshade Family or simply as Nightshades (1).
Potatoes may be referred to as White Potato or Irish Potato to differentiate it from sweet potatoes. There are over 5000 types of potatoes (2).
Allergic reactions may occur with both raw and cooked potato. Raw potato allergic reactions may occur when cutting or peeling potatoes. Potatoes are the 4th most popular crop worldwide, and they are added to countless ingredients in the United States, so be sure to read food labels (3).
Potato Cross Reactivity
People who have allergy to birch pollen, grass pollen, or latex may experience cross reactive allergic reaction to potato (4). Similarly, having a potato allergy may increase the risk of developing a pollen allergy (5).
If you are allergic to potatoes or sensitive to potatoes, you may be allergic or sensitive to the following foods in the Nightshade Food Family (source):
- Gogi Berry
- Many different types of peppers
- Cayenne Pepper
- Chili Pepper
- Green Bell Pepper
- Jalapeno Pepper
- Red Bell Pepper
- Red Pepper Flakes
- Yellow Bell Pepper
Nightshade sensitivity is associated with gut health, leaky gut, autoimmune conditions, and Irritable Bowel Disease. Symptoms may include digestive discomfort, fatigue, and joint pain (6).
Nightshade plants contain compounds that may cause symptoms. The main trigger is solanine. Other components are alkaloids, nicotine, capsaicin, and lectins. Generally speaking, these substances are natural poisons that ward off bugs.
In high doses, these can be harmful to humans. Most people can tolerate these in the small amounts found in common nightshade foods. However, some people are more sensitive to their effects and feel much better when avoiding these foods (7).
As with all types of food allergy, nightshade allergy may be life threatening and may include severe allergic reactions such as hives, swollen throat, and difficulty breathing (6).
Help For Potato Allergy, Potato Sensitivity & Potato Intolerance
Like most things in life, when you have more information you can make better choices. Here is some information on how to avoid potatoes and how to replace potatoes in your diet.
Here is some information on hidden sources of potato in common foods as well as a list of foods that can be used to replace potatoes at meals and as snacks.
Hidden Sources of Potato
Be on the lookout for potatoes in the following foods:
- French fries
- Hamburger meat (Potato flakes may be added for thickening.)
- Potato Chips
- Waffles ( May contain potato starch.)
- Canned soup
- Yeast (May be brewed with potatoes.)
- Breads or other baked goods made with potato flour.
- Candy (May contain potato starch.)
- Shredded Cheese (May be used to prevent the cheese shreds from sticking together.)
Alternatives to White Potatoes
These starchy vegetables can generally be baked, mashed, or fried similarly to potatoes.
- Green Banana (including Green Banana Flour)
- Sweet Potato (which is part of the Morning Glory Food Family (7).
- Yam (not to be confused with Sweet Potato)
- Yucca (also known as Cassava)
Alternatives To Potato Chips
- Apple Chips
- Black Bean Chips
- Corn Chips
- Green Banana Chips
- Kale Chips
- Plantain Chips
- Pita Chips
- Seaweed Chips
- Sweet Potato Chips
- Taro Chips
- Yucca Chips
Be sure to check labels for hidden ingredients.
If you know or suspect that you can’t eat potato due to an allergy, sensitivity, or other intolerance, help is available.
We recommend working with an Allergist, Registered Dietitian, or Certified Leap Therapist to identify which foods are safest for you and which foods you should avoid.
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3 thoughts on “Potato Allergy 101: What You Should Know About Potato Intolerance”
I am fairly sure I have a potato intolerance or allergy. Each time eat potato depending how much get diarrhoea, sometimes straight after, i been ignoring it as when go to the toilet it goes. But now i see my lips and above lips turning white patches now, is that common with tolerances/allergies? I have hayfever now and then, and underactive thyroid been diagnosed with. Really hate the lips thing as i work but I probably see it more close up than others. Also get flatulence when move alot.
Worse is chips like from a chip shop, then i would say Jacket potatoes, then frozen chips, then mash. Roast potatoes are less but I buy frozen roast potatoes. I think more white potato.
If it is potatoes I really cant think of what to eat!
I recently found out that I have a white potato intolerance, which includes sweet potato in the ´avoid list’ of food.
Is it possible that purple potatoes would be ok to eat or do you think the purple potatoes are the same as white potato for digestion?
Hi Huey, There is a good chance that if white and sweet potato cause symptoms for you that purple potato might as well. When I’m working with clients on expanding food choices, I would probably work on adding in new and non-related foods first. This would likely have a higher success rate. But if your goal is to find a potato replacement, you could possibly try the purple potato. When I’m working with clients, we do this when their symptoms are generally well controlled and only try one serving (1/2 cup). If you have an IgE mediated food allergy or “classic allergy” to potato I would not recommend trying this at all. You could also consider trying boiled green banana. They are in a different food family, and are a mild tasting, satisfying starchy food. IF you are working with a healthcare provider on the potato intolerance, it would be good to ask that person as well as they might have more specific clinical information on your condition.